The Oakridge Archives
Oakridge is located in the parish of Bisley, Gloucestershire on the western edge of the Cotswolds. Although now considered somewhat off the beaten track it was at one time on the main road from Stroud to Cirencester which went through Waterlane and Tunley.
The earliest recorded settlements were around farmsteads built above the river Frome. Many of these buildings such as Daneway House, Solomon's Court, Oakridge Farm, Rookwoods and Frampton Place still exist and often retain some medieval features.
By the 18th century with the expansion of the woollen cloth industry in the Stroud and Chalford districts many weavers were occupying cottages in the area often encroaching onto the large common called Oakridge Common.
In 1835 work started on St Bartholomew's Church in Oakridge following fund raising by the Vicar of Bisley, Revd. Thomas Keble. Oakridge and its hamlets were between 1.5 and 3 miles from Bisley Church and a Wesleyan Chapel had already been built in Oakridge in 1797. Both the Chapel and Church had flourishing associated schools.
Oakridge is probably best known for its association with the Arts and Craft Movement initially through Gimson and the Barnsleys and later through Jewson, Alfred Powell and the many local craftsmen including Fred Gardiner and Alfred Bucknell. The painter Sir William Rothenstein settled at Iles Green in 1914 and many of his friends such as the poet John Drinkwater, essayist Max Beerbohm and painter Augustus John often stayed for considerable periods.
This Archive is a collection of historical material and exhibits which bear witness to all these events and also the life of the ordinary villagers. It includes many first hand accounts of the way of life and the development of the local community up to modern times.
Much of the content originates from the work and commitment, over many years, of the Oakridge History Group, including its ground breaking publication 'Oakridge a History' by history group members Pat Carrick, Kay Rhodes and Juliet Shipman in 2005.